Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
With The Innocent , Taylor Stevens, the bestselling author of The Informationist , returns with another blockbuster thriller featuring the fearless Vanessa Michael Munroe.
Eight years ago, a man walked five-year-old Hannah out the front doors of her school and spirited her over the Mexican border, taking her into the world of a cult known as The Chosen. For eight years, followers of The Prophet have hidden the child, moving her from country to country, shielding the man who stole her. Now, those who’ve searched the longest know where to find her. They are childhood survivors of The Chosen, thirty-somethings born and raised inside the cult who’ve managed to make lives for themselves on the outside. They understand the mindset, the culture within that world, and turn to Vanessa Michael Munroe for help, knowing that the only possibility of stealing Hannah back and getting her safely out of Argentina is to trust someone who doesn’t trust them, and get Munroe on the inside.
Tautly written, brilliantly paced, and with the same evocation of the exotic combined with chilling violence that made The Informationist such a success, The Innocent confirms Taylor Stevens’ reputation as a thriller writer of the first rank.

331 pages, Hardcover

First published December 27, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Taylor Stevens

58 books800 followers
TAYLOR STEVENS is a critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers. Her books, known for high-octane plots populated with fascinating characters in vivid boots-on-the-ground settings, have been published in over twenty languages. THE INFORMATIONIST, first in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series has also been optioned for film by James Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Stevens came to writing fiction late. Born into an apocalyptic cult, separated from her family at age twelve and denied an education beyond sixth grade, she lived on three continents and in a dozen countries before she turned fourteen. In place of schooling, the majority of her adolescence was spent begging on city streets at the behest of cult leaders, or as a worker bee child caring for the many younger commune children, washing laundry, and cooking meals for hundreds at a time. In her twenties, Stevens broke free in order to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond.

In addition to writing novels, Stevens shares extensively about the mechanics of storytelling, writing, overcoming adversity, and the details of her journey into publishing through email, podcast, and video tutorials.

You can find her at:
* taylorstevensbooks.com/connect.php
* taylorstevensshow.com
* patreon.com/taylorstevens
* facebook.com/taylorstevens
* twitter @taylorstevens

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,175 (26%)
4 stars
1,966 (44%)
3 stars
1,043 (23%)
2 stars
225 (5%)
1 star
50 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 568 reviews
Profile Image for Woman Reading .
431 reviews270 followers
October 13, 2020
3.5 stars rounded up - poignant rescue of a child from the clutches of a cult

The Innocent is the second Vanessa Michael Munroe (VMM) thriller and it can be read as a standalone.

VMM's long-time best friend, Logan, had been born into the fictional Chosen of God cult. Thirteen years ago, he had secretly fathered a girl with his childhood friend, Charity. Logan helped Charity to leave the cult with their then 5-year old daughter, Hannah. But shortly after, Hannah was kidnapped by Charity's boyfriend and whisked back into the folds of The Chosen. With a tip from a cult member, Logan had tracked down his daughter's location. He knew, though, that only the specialised skills set of his lethal best friend could find Hannah in the teeming metropolis of Buenos Aires and extract Hannah from the secretive cult.

VMM made a living as a spy for hire. Part of her skills set included being able to kill though assassination had not ever been on the menu. In the movie "Grosse Pointe Blank," the assassin said that killing as a soldier was a skill that he was good at. And then chagrined, he explained to his lady love that "I got to like it." That was a great line in that dark comedy, but VMM hasn't attained that level of comfort with her bloodlust. For the sake of this innocent child, VMM would need her killer skills and then some. The cult may have been pacifists, but they liked the protection from their organized crime sponsors.
Superheroes defend what's good and destroy evil.
How is it that I can hate killing so much, and yet at the same time, desire it, and it comes to me so naturally?
Superheroes are serial killers.

Although the storyline was a bit uneven at times, The Innocent packed emotional power, most of it due to the author's personal history. Taylor Stevens' parents were part of the Children of God cult when she was born, so that experience was foisted upon her until she left in her late 20s. I'm not drawn to tales involving cults, but I had expected and had gotten a thriller that conveyed authenticity. Writing this must have been cathartic for Stevens because justice for victims of abuse had been scant.
The children didn't scream or protest; they had been taught to submit, to obey, to never question. They had no power, no place but to serve, and when the pedophiles came calling, who had they turned to for safety?

The Chosen abused us, the media used us, law enforcement failed us, and justice is a farce.

#1 The Informationist 2.5 ☆
#3 The Doll 4 ☆
#3.5 The Vessel 3.5 ☆
#4 The Catch 3 ☆
#5 The Mask 3.5 ☆
Profile Image for Stephanie Ziegler.
295 reviews21 followers
August 21, 2012
I will be honest; I am a girl who loves her romance books. This is my first thriller, at least that is how the publisher categorizes this book. What a great book to start me off in thrillers and I am hooked (at least with Stevens books).

Stevens uses a female as the main character and a male as her back-up partner. Not knowing much about thrillers, having a female lead gave me, the reader, a sense of power. Through Michael, I felt invincible. While using an inappropriate characteristic as a mercenary, this book shows women that they could do anything they put their minds to.

I had trouble putting this book down. Multiple times, I found myself reading a situation that could have ended the book. Stevens added unexpected twists (that were thoroughly researched) that kept my anticipation level at an all-time high. Stevens added other storylines, like a little romance, but none overpowered the central story. The character of Hannah brings together the most unlikely of characters, all with different motives, all with different skill sets, working together as a group to help Michael if the situation calls for it.

Stevens showed us the pain that parents go through when they lose their child. She showed us what it was like to be born in a cult and what they believe to be true (she does not call it brainwashing). She showed us some of the things the elders in the cults do to the children. She showed us the torment the cult caused the people who were able to escape. She showed us how the legal system could not do anything to help. She showed us how the media focuses on the negative things and is not there to help. She showed us teamwork and how even the most untrustworthy people can learn to trust one another. She showed us that killing was okay if it is justified (but do not go out and kill people), but others are someone else's child, parent, spouse, etc. This book has so many elements that any reader can close this book with satisfaction (and if they are like me, going to buy Steven's other book).

If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself!

Until next time, take life one page at a time!
August 14, 2017
It made a different reading. I love how things have been turning out.
Though the self-medication sounded like a bit weirdly taken on: really, who the hell cares if it is self-medication or doctor-prescribed one as long as the person it taking heavy addiction-inducing drugs? It's basically drug problem, not self-medication one.
And who sleeps with their knives close to the bed? Even I wouldn't dare as I would be bound to at least cut myself while sleeping. Why not take all dangerous items away from the bed? Lock them up, if needed? Drugging felt unnecessary.
Profile Image for Lauren Hough.
Author 1 book364 followers
January 25, 2012
Damn it's good. I've gotten so tired of formulaic novels. See, there's a big, bad conspiracy. And then there's this unlikely hero. And he saves the day. And gets laid in the process. No character building. Nothing new. I know the bad guys 'cause they're always the same. I know the good guy and he's as interesting and surprising as a mall food court's fried rice.

And then I picked up this book. At an airport, no less. I'd accidentally brought a book I'd already read and cruised the airport book store with little hope of finding anything. So I bought this. I sorta flipped through it. It had some promise. Cults fascinate me in the same way serial killers fascinate me. But good books on either are rare.

Stevens has serious talent as a storyteller. Novelists are everywhere. Storytellers are not. When I find one, it's a beautiful feeling. The characters have depth I rarely see. She takes the time to build them, slowly, without slowing down the pace of the story and that takes some skill. The story is dark but not hopeless and doesn't leave you with that feeling of a needed shower like so many do. She draws you in and constantly surprises you. The heroine, Michael Munroe is complex, violent, intriguing and inviting. She's the friend you want when you need not just someone to help you hide the body, but a friend to plan the attack. Child-kidnapping is a subject that doesn't often make for a thrill ride. It is, in and of itself, too horrible an idea for entertainment. And yet, Stevens makes it work. The cult, The Chosen, is clearly not some fantastic caricature conjured for an easy straw man. That it's so believable makes it all the more terrifying as the villain.

I'm not going to tell you the story. Buy the book. You won't put it down and when you finish it, you'll do exactly as I did and go buy the rest of her books.
Profile Image for Jacqui.
Author 66 books183 followers
November 14, 2011
It seems everyone is a NY Times Bestselling Author these days, so that's not why I picked Taylor Stevens' new novel The Innocent (Crown Publishers 2011) from my Amazon Vine offering last month. It is the story of Hannah, kidnapped at the age of five and forced to grow up as part of a sexually-oriented, backward cult (which sounds to be based on a group to which Stevens herself belonged in her early years). Even after eight years, her mother won't stop searching for her and begs Vanessa Michael Munroe, the heroine from Stevens' debut thriller The Informationist, to use her prodigious physical and mental skills to track down and save her child. Within the first chapters, it becomes clear that Munroe (who calls herself Michael) is as effective in combat as the world-saving Scott Harvath, albeit darker than even the inimitable Jason Bourne. When Munroe saves a child about to be gang-raped by destroying the miscreants, we learn that Munroe is fraught with demons so powerful she dreads going to sleep, so fearful is she of what she will do when she can no longer control her actions. By rescuing this kidnapped girl, Munroe hopes to exorcise her own evil and reclaim the life she used to enjoy.

The prologue powerfully introduces the story with three pages of non-stop action and musty intrigue, but the story stalled soon after. Yes, I was achingly curious, but Taylor left holes in the story, unexplained actions and unfounded emotions, so I began to feel distanced from her main characters, Logan and Munroe. There were hints of a dark, intimidating past, one that was likely fleshed out in the prequel, The Informationist and shaped the thoughts and actions of the two friends, but I wasn't in on the secrets. I really wished I'd read that novel first. And learning about Logan--the man responsible for involving Munroe in rescuing the child--through the eyes of the narrator and Munroe seemed to be contradicted by his actions. On the one hand, he is characterized as calm, unflappable, competent, but on the other, he seeks Munroe's approval and worries too much. Again, I wrote it off to believing that this book was too dependent upon the prior novel. Maybe it should have been called Part II.

One other drawback: In the development of Munroe, I felt a bit off-balance throughout the story. In that usual thriller way, Munroe is bigger than life, but damaged by her past. The further into the story I got, the more I cared for her and worried that her demons would derail her goals, but I always felt a little behind the curve as far as understanding her motivations. I'm assuming that the prequel provided the foundation for what drives Munroe. It didn't help that some of the scene transitions made me pause, re-read to be sure I didn't miss something.

In the end though, those concerns paled in light of Stevens plotting, pacing and ability to ratchet up the drama. Munroe's character--a strong, sexy physical woman--is needed more often in thrillers. Sure, there are competent female fighters, but Munroe didn't learn her skills so much as they are her. Though the story lacks any supporting actors/actresses of merit, Munroe is the bigger than life protagonist that is central to any successful thriller. This is only the second book in the series. Every series grows over time. The writing skills are there so I will definitely buy more.
280 reviews81 followers
January 9, 2012
I decided to read this second book after reading and disliking the first. I thought maybe the author improved or this would be a better story. Neither of those things happened. Reading these books is similar to watching Angelina Jolie portray Lara Croft in those mindless, kick ass movies. It was great watching Jolie. It's not the same picturing a somewhat gender neutral female as the heroine. The writing is narration and not all that interesting. I am as always amazed by the reviews. I wonder if any of those readers ever read classic literature. In their world, the great masters could easily be Patterson, Grisham, Cornwell and Taylor Stevens. What would F. Scott Fitzgerald think!

Profile Image for Vleigh.
390 reviews38 followers
February 27, 2018
I really love the way this author writes. The book played like a movie in my head as she relays the subtle physical details of the characters as well as their conversations without being too long-winded. I have to admit that at first I figured it would be somewhat predictable but that wasn't the case at all. And it was pretty obvious to me that there was actual experience behind parts of the story -- which I later verified on the authors website. I will definitely be continuing this series.
Profile Image for Xana.
622 reviews37 followers
October 30, 2016
Ia com grande expectativa para esta leitura visto que adorei o anterior da autora, mas, apesar de o tema ser forte e chocante, não me agarrou da mesma forma.
Le-se bem, adoro a personagem Munroe, e ainda mais o Miles, gostei da evolução neste livro.
Profile Image for Dan.
17 reviews
January 2, 2012
This is Taylor Stevens' second book in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series. In brief, the author with a unique background is honing her storytelling craft and clearly improving. Based on the contemporary publishing phenomena of uber-strong young female protagonist/heroine characters, like those depicted in the Stieg Larsson and the Suzanne Collins trilogies, it's not altogether surprising that we now have Taylor Stevens' Vanessa Michael Munroe character entering stage right.

What is surprising, however, is the author's own personal background as a child of religious extremist parents and her denial of a complete education. Clearly, the author draws heavily upon her own personal experience with corrupted governments in Africa for her first novel and her life within a religious commune/cult for her second novel.

I can't help but wonder what all of those who write advertising copy for all of those "low-res" MFA educational programs aimed at would-be authors think of this self-educated novelist and her non-traditional path to publishing success. Regardless, the major triumph of her second novel lies in the protagnist/heroine's struggles with her inner self. The storytelling is taut and suspenseful, but given the protagonist's inter-personal history, there would have to be as many inner wounds as outer scars that mark her torso. Munroe's inner turmoil in the second novel was underdeveloped in the first novel.

Apparently, the author is working on the third novel in the series. We are looking forward to what she creates next.
Profile Image for Liviu Szoke.
Author 29 books364 followers
September 23, 2017
O poveste, a doua din seria Vanessa Munroe, dedicată unei femei-mercenar ce cutreieră planeta în căutare de aventuri periculoase, care tratează de această dată unul dintre cele mai delicate și mai spinoase subiecte ale Americii, o rușine, după umila mea părere, a căror dimensiune și repercusiuni încă nu pot fi înțelese doar citind despre el: cultele religioase cărora le cad victime mai ales copiii. De citit dacă vrei să ți se-nfioare pielea pe tine. I-am scăzut din notă pentru modul prea perfect în care este descrisă eroina principală, un echivalent feminin al lui Jack Reacher (despre ale cărui calități prea perfecte m-am luat acum ceva vreme) pe care nu-l poate învinge nici cel mai înveterat mercenar. Mai multe, pe Bookblog: http://www.bookblog.ro/recenzie/merce....
Profile Image for Cornelia.
Author 77 books143 followers
September 6, 2012
“I need a favor.” That’s what Logan said when he made a phone call to Morocco to speak to the one and only person who could help him, Michael Munroe. That is how the thriller, The Innocent by Taylor Stevens begins.

The author, Taylor Stevens, grew up in the religious cult, The Children of God, raised in communes across the world and denied an education beyond the 6th grade. The leader of this cult, David Berg, who thought of himself as God’s prophet, developed a method called Flirty Fishing which pressured female members to show god’s love by engaging in sexual acts with potential converts. In some areas Flirty Fishers used escort services to meet people to convert to the cult through sex. It has also been confirmed that some minors in the cult were sexually abused by other members. The author was able to break free of this cult she was raised in and build a life for herself. When reading The Innocent which involves an innocent girl trapped in a religious cult, you can’t help but think about the author’s unique background.

Vanessa Michael Monroe, is one kick ass heroine, strong, dedicated, deadly, complicated, yet tender hearted, and plagued with personal issues and demons and a traumatic childhood herself. She is hired by her best friend to infiltrate a cult to get his daughter back, though the child doesn’t even know he’s her father. But they’re twist at every turn and the suspense keeps you on the edge in this thrilling page turner. I love Michael Monroe. She is one of my all time favorite charters. This is the first book I have read of the series but I definitely want to read the first and the others to come. As soon as I finished the last page I began to miss Michael Monroe. I fully recommend The Innocent, it’s a great read.
Profile Image for Bill.
1,619 reviews75 followers
January 25, 2023
The Innocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel is the 2nd book in the Vanessa 'Michael' Munroe thriller series by Taylor Stevens. The story starts off in Morocco where Munroe has been living with lover, Noah, trying to deal with her inner struggles; nightmares where she relives acts of violence (making her a danger to others). She tries to solve the issue by drugging herself before going to sleep.

Her business partner Miles Bradford and another friend, Logan, arrive with a proposition. Logan and friends need her help. Logan was raised in a cult, The Chosen. As a young man he left, along with others, but now they need to find a young girl, Hannah. Hannah is the daughter of Noah (although she believes her father to be another man) and Charity. Hannah was abducted by David from Charity and taken back to the Chosen. Logan and his friends have recently discovered that Hannah is at Haven hideouts located in Buenos Aires Argentina. They want to hire Munroe to go and get her back. With Miles and three of the ex-Chosen, Logan, Heidi and Gideon, heads to Buenos Aires to try and get Hannah back. This story is that effort; as Munroe battles her demons and at the same time tries to discover the whereabouts of the Haven hideaways and infiltrate to discover Hannah's location.

It's an exciting book and provides an excellent portrait of Munroe, her inner struggles, her expertise with weapons, and her information-gathering skills. Miles brings along other skills and is an interesting character, faithful and dedicated to Munroe, worried about her issues and mental stability, but providing a core strength to her. The story is stark and grim but as it progresses, there is reason to hope; both for the success of the mission and for Munroe's mental health. I have #3 The Doll sitting on my bookshelf awaiting my attention. (3.5 stars)
Profile Image for Jill.
2,186 reviews80 followers
November 13, 2013
This is book two of the Vanessa Michael Munroe series.

Vanessa, who goes by Michael, is an “information specialist” who takes on million dollar contracts to find out inside information about companies, people, and even countries. She does what it takes to complete her assignments, including murder if necessary, and is known for never failing to deliver. Born in Africa to missionaries and left on her own by age 14, she has lived in thirteen countries and speaks twenty-two languages. She was abused, but battle trained, and can hold her own in a fight. Moreover, she can look like a man if she needs to, or a woman if it will work better to get what she wants.

In the first book of the series, she took a job that sent her back to Africa, and she lost a colleague during that mission that still gives her pain and nightmares. She gained a new one too, however: Miles Bradford, mid-thirties, former Special Forces, and now a private contractor for a “bullets-and-blood mercenary outfit.” In other words, he does work similar to what she does herself.

At the beginning of this second book, Michael, currently in Morocco, is still in recovery mode when she is contacted by her best friend from back in Texas, Logan, for help with a job that may not pay her very much, but is close to his heart. He is trying to save a 13-year-old girl very special to him who was kidnapped by a religious cult, The Chosen of God. He received word that Hannah is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Michael is the only one he knows who could pinpoint her location and get her out.

Michael, Miles and Logan all travel to Buenos Aires, along with two additional former members of the Cult (Logan was brought up by cult-member parents until he was evicted as a teenager), to provide whatever background and help they can.

In researching her assignment, Michael discovers not only background about the abusive nature of the cult that brings all of her violent “revenge” demons screaming to the surface, but also that the rescue will be more complicated than she thought: the cult is somehow connected to a dangerous criminal mob.

When she is cornered by seven well-armed and dangerous mob members in a remote warehouse, it doesn’t look like this time even she can pull through.

Discussion: The author, as she explains on her website, is herself a former member of a “a communal apocalyptic cult” who finally broke free in her twenties. Like Hannah in the story, Stevens says that “My innocence and scholastic education stopped completely when I was twelve-years-old.” Reading in the book what Hannah endured, one hates to imagine the horrors in the author’s past. (She admits: “I pull heavily from personal experience and the experience of the ones I love when creating the worlds they walk in.”)

In an interview she explained that, just like in the book:

Members were encouraged to change sexual partners whenever they liked and eschew birth control. In the 40-odd years of the cult’s existence, approximately 35,000 people have filtered though its network; over 13,000 of those were children who, like Stevens, were born into it. Allegations of adult sexual contact with children in the early years were rampant, and by the time of [the cult founder’s] death, in 1994, he was wanted by Interpol for inciting sexual abuse against children.”

Ugh, just ugh. I wish I could rant and rave against the author for imagining such horrible things just to make a good book. How I wish I could! If you read the interview, you will see there are many other aspects of her childhood that are replicated in the story. (Elements from the first book also came from experiences in Stevens’ life.) But one can hope this act of exorcism will help her heal. She says about writing this book, “I could get all the revenge I wanted and not have to worry about how things really worked out for people,” she says. “It was great.”

Evaluation: Almost immediately after starting this book, I set it down and re-read The Informationist. I don’t know if it would have been necessary had I not known about it, but I wanted to get all the nuances and references in the beginning of this story, and it had just been too long for me. It’s probably not necessary for most people who have already read the first, or even for those who never did. I just have a brain like a colander.

This book has drama, suspense, and the horrible distinction of being based on real-life.

Rating: 3.5/5
Profile Image for Luanne Ollivier.
1,682 reviews86 followers
February 25, 2012
Taylor Stevens roared onto the scene (and the New York Times Bestseller list) with her debut thriller The Informationist. She's back with her second novel featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe called The Innocent.

Vanessa Michael Munroe is capable of just about anything. She's brilliant, beyond tough and loyal. How does she earn her living? Taking on cases that no one else is capable of seeing through or even wants to attempt. When her close friend Logan comes to her with a request for the seemingly impossible, she can't turn him down. Five year old Hannah was kidnapped by her mother's ex boyfriend almost eight years ago. She has been taken and secreted within The Chosen - a cult. After so long, they finally have word that Hannah might be in one of The Havens in Argentina. Armed with inside knowledge from three adult survivors of The Chosen, Munroe agrees to take the case. For above all else - she will protect the innocent.

Taylor has painted a frightening picture of the inner workings of a cult and the treatment of the children trapped in a situation they didn't choose. The everyday life, the lack of schooling, the begging, the hierarchy, the running, the hiding, the abuse.... And she's not making it up. Author Taylor Stevens is writing what she knows. She grew up in a 'communal apocalyptic cult', finally getting out in her twenties.

Stevens has crafted yet another unputdownable book. Hannah's chapters are alternated with Munroe's. We know what is going on with Hannah and can only will Munroe to get there faster. The ratcheting tension made it really hard to step away.

What made it hard to put down? I loved the character. We learn more about Munroe with each book, but she is still an enigma. It was fantastic to have such a kick a** female protagonist, one who can hold her own in almost any situation. Over the top? Maybe - but a delicious piece of escapist reading. (but still kind of scary, when you realize that the cult descriptions are real.)Think of all those tough guy Jason Statham movie type characters and make them female.

I chose to listen to The Innocent in audio book format. The reader was Hilary Huber. She has a well modulated voice. She conveyed Munroe's voice perfectly, never raising it, but transmitting her purpose and strength by talking even quieter.

Another excellent thriller and number three is in the works - The Doll, due out in 2012.
Profile Image for Kara-karina.
1,658 reviews252 followers
January 6, 2013
Taylor Stevens is my hero. Her books ultimately keep ending up in my Best Of... lists. They are hardboiled, action packed thrillers with a very unlikely heroine.

Vanessa Michael Munroe has been compared to Lisbeth Salander many times. I haven't read The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo so I can't confirm if it's true, but what I know is that Munroe is a ruthless, sociopathic, insanely talented killer and an ultimate anti-hero in a female body. She would fit right in with Kate Daniels, Jill Kismet and Celaena Sardothien, she is that tough.

This book is perhaps not as brutal as The Informationist but still delivers an insanely fast and tight plot with Vanessa working on extracting a teenage girl from a cult similar to Jehovah's Witnesses and delivering her to her parents who managed to escape The Chosen years ago only for their daughter to be stolen back.

As with all kind of cults there are some hard topics, lots of fear and abuse, plenty of painful memories which Vanessa has to put behind when she confronts local mafia working in tandem with The Chosen.

There is no point of me explaining what's happened because the book reads really fast. It's exhilarating and edgy and makes you think, and I totally recommend it just as I do The Informationist. Even if you don't read that kind of books but love UF with its tough broken heroine, this will be to your taste. Trust me.
Profile Image for John.
Author 160 books9 followers
March 8, 2012
I've been working on a novel where a girl has recently escaped a cult, so this book with a similar theme interested me. I love hardcore female protagonists and Vanessa Michael Munroe is about as tough as they come. She easily overpowers multiple groups of male attackers, is adept in both martial arts and with firearms and speaks 22 languages. This last is part of the novel's problem: she seems too much like a super hero.

Worse the book seems over written in parts, with stilted language and the use of two or three sentences where one will do. This may be explained in part by the author's abbreviated education. Stevens was raised by the Children of God -- a 1970s cult that was accused of sexual and physical abuse. The Children of God are well-known both for their alums -- including the late great River Phoenix and their practice of flirty fishing. Flirty fishing involves using attractive women to recruit lonely men -- the women often slept with the men to get them to join.

Regardless, all I can say is I hope my thriller is more... thrilling.
Profile Image for Nick.
Author 21 books102 followers
January 16, 2012
A startlingly bad novel by the author of a good first-time thriller called The Informationist. In that book, the author introduced us to plucky herione Vanessa Michael Munroe, who had a way with research and violence. The pace was fast, the villains suitably ferocious, and the situation interestingly complicated. Here, the research seems to be unnecessary, the violence has become unrelenting, the pace slow, the villains cartoonish, and the situation pathetic.
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
733 reviews1,779 followers
March 4, 2012
I actually enjoyed this book better than the first in the series!!! These novels are very similar to the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series with the exception being that the characters here are much more likable!!! Looking forward to the next one!!!
Profile Image for Maria Aurora.
21 reviews
December 15, 2018
An excellent book from the beggining to the end, I swear!! I loved the personnages and the whole plot. The end is the cherry of the cake ❤
Profile Image for Kimba Tichenor.
Author 1 book111 followers
June 6, 2020
4.5 -- a huge improvement over the first book in this series. Characters, plot, and background information much more fleshed out with fewer unresolved threads at end. Specifically the reader gets a better understanding of what drives the main character and how she obtained the skills that she has and at what price she acquired them. Definitely interested to try the next book in this series.
Profile Image for Kelli.
110 reviews47 followers
December 31, 2011
Book: B+
Narration: B+

The nightmares were getting worse. When you’re afraid to sleep next to someone because you’ve woken up with tangled sheets and, oh, yes, a pair of knives stabbed into the mattress next to you, it’s time to take action. For Vanessa Michael Munroe, the solution is exactly that. Always at her best (and with her inner demons at their most subdued) when she is constantly in motion, Munroe accedes to a plea from her best friend Logan to help him find and recover Hannah, a thirteen year-old girl and former member of a cult known as The Chosen. Kidnapped by her mother’s boyfriend and spirited away to South America, Hannah is being shuttled between the cult’s various compounds in an effort to keep her hidden. A trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina in the company of Logan and two other former members of The Chosen starts Munroe walking a dangerous high-wire where the only one she can trust is her back-up man, Miles Bradford. Finding the compound where Hannah is being held and infiltrating the cult is a task made more difficult as Munroe deals with the hidden agendas and power plays within her team and her own nightmares and memories dredged up by the accusations of child abuse within the cult.

This is going to be a pretty simple review and I’ll just let you know in advance, if you’re looking for a reason you shouldn’t listen to this audiobook, I won’t be providing you with one. Every now and then I pick up an audiobook that just sucks me in and when I emerge from the other side of it, all I remember is the rush of the ride and none of the rocks I may have bounced off along the way. This is one of those books. If I sat down and thought it through could I come up with some negative comments? Possibly. The reason I didn’t write any comments down while listening is the same reason I don’t have criticism to offer: this audiobook provided a completely immersive experience and even in retrospect, I only re-experience the slow build of tension, the moments of lightning quick violence, the vivid settings, and the well-developed characters that seemed almost real. My analytical half never makes it past the “dang, that was an excellent story” reaction to arrive at any type of critical structural break-down.

Munroe is a fascinating character and in the second book in this series the reader gets more insight into the complexity of her psychological makeup as well as the changes she’s undergoing based on events in the previous book and the choices she makes in this one. Much of the story is from Munroe’s viewpoint but when there is a shift in POV, it’s seamless and works well to further the story. In fact, there are several instances where a very dramatic scene begins from Munroe’s point of view but ends with the reader seeing the conclusion or aftermath from another character’s point of view. Some readers may find that disrupts the tension of action scenes but I appreciated the way it subtly echoed Munroe’s tendency to slip into an almost fugue state when threatened. It also worked extremely well at weaving together these character’s lives even tighter and providing a very organic feel to events, where the consequences of our actions are only fully realized later or through someone else’s eyes. The story plays itself out with both a sense of inevitability, like a boulder building speed down a long slope, as well as sharp moments of violence. Layered in with the physical action that drives the story forward are the instances of recognition and connection the reader can find with any/all of these fully-formed characters.

Hillary Huber’s narration was excellent. I often take issue with the performance of narrators who present with a very specific and structured cadence but in this case, Huber’s rough voice and deliberate pacing and delivery admirably ratchets up the tension and adeptly portrays Munroe’s moral ambivalence and matter-of-fact attitude toward doing what needs to be done. The characters are easy to track through sections of dialogue and I experienced an almost physical shiver while listening to the voices given two specific characters whose belief in what they were doing, combined with the fact that what they did was just wrong, was masterfully blended together to create a complex vocal characterization.

This was a great listen and I recommend it but I think you'll enjoy it even more if you've read the first book in the series.
Profile Image for Michelle.
311 reviews14 followers
April 3, 2013
A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel
By Taylor Stevens
Crown Publishers, 331 pgs
Rating: 2.5

Vanessa Michael Munroe is back in the follow-up to her debut performance in The Informationist, which I reviewed in December of last year. The mission she is hired for this time is to rescue a child from a cult and return her to her parents. Michael, as she is known, travels to Argentina, last known location for the girl, and sets about recon. She is joined by Miles Bradford, also returning from the first book, who's main function is electronics and, infrequently, bodyguard. Most of the time he's the second string. Munroe is also saddled with a small collection of former cult members, each with a different agenda,who's main function seems to be offering the potential for mission catastrophe.

The Innocent begins promisingly. Munroe is a unique heroine, no one else like her in past or current thriller fiction. Taylor Stevens allows her to be larger than life and I am willing to suspend disbelief for the sheer fun of experiencing a woman in charge, physically and mentally. Michael is a chameleon who would be an asset to any intelligence and/or mercenary agency in the world, except the body count tends to climb when she's around. The story idea is a good one. The author was born into the Children of God and presumably knows whereof she speaks; the descriptions of the cult and it's members and practices are detailed and so strange. So to sum up: 1) great story idea, 2) great main character and 3) details to sink your teeth into, and 4) there's a sub-issue that works well throughout the book involving Munroe's violent nightmares and the dangers represented by her sleepwalking, actually more of a fugue state.

So what is wrong with this book?

1) It's slow. Real action doesn't begin until page 261. This is unacceptable. 2) Munroe is a fabulous character who has been allowed no growth, acceptable I suppose, but tedious. In addition, there are two incidents that make no sense: 1) at the beginning of the book Munroe kills a man in New York during one of the previously mentioned fugue states and this has no apparent effect on anything, and 2) not long after arriving in Argentina she rescues two girls from a couple of men who apparently were buying them but this is never alluded to during the entire remainder of the book. It's as if it happens in a vacuum. Disorienting. Finally, The Innocent could have benefited from better editing. The writing frequently comes across as clunky, repetitive and is filled with odd word choices.

When I reviewed The Informationist, Taylor Stevens' debut, I was impressed. I very much enjoyed that book and gave it a rating of 4.5. Maybe it's the classic sophomore syndrome, suffering in comparison to a widely praised debut. Maybe the debut was a fluke, too early to tell. So while I cannot recommend The Innocent, the author is currently at work on a third book in the series and I am prepared to keep an open mind and read the third installment before making a decision.

To visit the author: www.taylorstevensbooks.com

To visit the publisher: www.crownpublishing.com
Profile Image for Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?.
617 reviews105 followers
October 31, 2015
Vanessa Michael Munroe is one serious chick and one you don't want to mess with. When her best friend, Logan asked her for help locating his daughter, who had been taken from her mother and brought back to the cult they had grown up in, she is eager to help. She has the skill set to get the job done. Logan, along with other member of the cult, The Chosen, help with the background information to help Munroe infiltrate the Havens. Will she be able to find the girl before she is discovered? Will the ex-Chosen members use their own agendas and compromise the mission?

This is the second Vanessa Michael Munroe book I have read and the second in the series. She is a strong woman and I would not like to cross her bad side at all. She is the type of person you want to make sure you always keep on your side. She is small, but powerful and can make the strongest man, cry like a baby. This book definitely sent me on a roller coaster ride. Set mostly in Argentina, the adventure begins from the start of the book. After Logan approaches Vanessa for this mission, she dives right into it. She doesn't questions anything, she is just there to help a friend and will stop at nothing to complete the request. Inserting herself into the cult, with the promise of a healthy monetary contribution, Munroe, finds the girl and then has to plan how to remove her without them both being hurt. Once the plan is in motion, there is no turning back.

This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. Waiting to find out if Munroe is really as good as she claims to be. I would like to read all of the books in this series, and unfortunately, I haven't been able to read them in order the way I would prefer to do, but I am enjoying them none the less. I still haven't discovered what makes her tick and decide to learn the skills that she has, but I can't wait to find it out.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,331 reviews5 followers
December 18, 2011
I won "The Innocent", a Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel by Taylor Stevens through a Goodreads Giveaway.This book was amazing!This book reminded me of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, which I loved. In The Innocent, set mostly in Buenos Aires, Munroe's assignment is to rescue a 13-year-old girl, who was kidnapped eight years ago, from a cult called The Chosen of God.Munroe has been asked to do this by a group of childhood survivors of that same cult, and she accepts the request even though the amount they can pay her will not even cover her costs.

For me, this well-written thriller was nearly unputdownable, not only because of the action-packed, fast-paced, suspenseful story, but also because of the fascinating, brilliant, heroine, who, while fighting personal demons from her traumatic childhood in Africa, uses her sharp mind and lethal skills to save an innocent child at great personal risk. Munroe reminded me a bit of Lee Child's Jack Reacher, but unlike him, she is troubled by her role in the deaths of so many bad guys, however evil they were, and is subject to violent nightmares.

I highly recommend this book, and its predecessor, to all those who enjoy a really good thriller with interesting, well-drawn characters, plenty of action, and riveting suspense.I will definately read the first novel , "The Informationist", as I enjoyed this book so much. A definate 5 Star Rating!
Profile Image for Charlie.
Author 4 books262 followers
February 4, 2012
The worst has happened, someone thought it'd be a great marketing technique to compare this book to Steig Larsson's series The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Honestly, who wants to read a rip-off of the same thing? I was skeptical, but relief came when I realized I actually did enjoy this book. There are some similarities to Larsson's thrillers, but not a hijack of the bandwagon. Set in Buenos Aries, the search to locate The Chosen's various haven cult houses moves steadily and at a good pace. You won't have to wade through 600 pages of tiny print to get to the end. However, I felt there was enough description, action and background given to make this a feasibly believable story. It is incredible, but the building blocks are there, and everything is checked off and in place. Explanations are given, without lengthy pages of reasoning. I liked the get-to-the point approach and strong characters. My attachment to them was a bit lacking, but I did not read the first book and took that into consideration, placing the fault on myself, not the author. I'd recommend taking this book along on vacation or picking up when in the mood for a snatch and grab thriller. Not a deep-thinking mystery, but contains action and an interesting plot-line that will entertain and hold the readers interest to the final page.
Profile Image for Joana Gonzalez (Elphaba).
653 reviews32 followers
November 23, 2014
Opinião completa em: http://historiasdeelphaba.blogspot.pt...

Confesso-me rendida a Taylor Stevens.
Intensa, surpreendente e viciante, não é por acaso que a sua série Vanessa Michael Munroe tem vindo a conquistar uma legião de fãs e as melhores críticas além-fronteiras, com a sua abordagem crua a múltiplas temáticas intemporais e chocantes, que a destacam dentro do seu género, através de mistérios com picos de adrenalina constantes e com uma protagonista extraordinária a que nenhum leitor fica indiferente.

Depois de um primeiro título simplesmente alucinante, A Informacionista, com o enredo centrado na busca da filha desaparecida de um magnata do petróleo e com uma exposição perturbadoramente perfeita da violência e corrupção na África Central, Os Inocentes transportará os leitores para um novo continente e para uma nova e ainda mais chocante realidade, que tocará e arrepiará até o mais crédulo amante de Thrillers.

América do Sul, Argentina. Uma preciosa criança raptada. Uma seita fanática credibilizada. O passado e o presente de Michael voltam a encontrar-se e o ponto em que o terrível destino de Hannah se cruza com o seu é o primeiro passo para que esta nova missão seja aquela em que empenhará a sua alma, nem que para isso tenha que dar a sua vida.

Profile Image for Jodi.
220 reviews59 followers
January 9, 2012

In a follow up to The Informationist Taylor Stevens brings Vanessa Michael Munroe thundering back into action.

Five year old Hannah is taken from her mother by The Chosen, a cult of followers of The Profit. One of the cult’s beliefs is to do everything in love which opens the door for adult members to abuse and sodomize children. Three adult survivors who have escaped The Chosen have experienced this abuse first hand and are determined to find Hannah. Their pledge results in an eight year quest to find the child and bring her back home.

Logan, one of the survivors seeks out Munroe and banking on their friendship enlists her to take on the rescue. Munroe carries demons from her past, she is a mercenary for hire who knows how to stalk and kill when necessary. She is the perfect weapon for infiltration of The Cult and the extraction of the child.

Having located Hannah in Buenos Aires Munroe goes into action. When she gets access into the cult Hannah is suddenly moved into hiding. Munroe must locate Hannah before they move her out of the country again.

This fast paced book keeps you engaged until the final page. Stevens is securing her place as a great thriller writer. A sequel is in the works and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Profile Image for Karolyn Sherwood.
434 reviews33 followers
January 2, 2012
Taylor Stevens is a master-storyteller. She deftly feeds the reader facts and clues and backstory as the characters race through the incredible city of Buenos Aires to save a little girl from a terrible life. The pace is rapid, and the plot of The Innocent is as straight as a bullet through this gripping novel.

(Vanessa) Michael Munroe, the literary world's newest superhero, infiltrates a cult as few people could describe as accurately as Stevens (if you haven't read the author's bio, do that next). This story is as horrific as it is entertaining, and while I imagine some there has been some dramatic license taken, it is very believable knowing how Stevens was raised.

But the best part of this book is that Stevens has created an anti-hero that we/I not only root for, but one that we care about. Yes, she kills people, but her subsequent nightmares create sympathy for her. "Michael" makes ME feel smarter/stronger/faster. It's like the Holiday Inn commercial: I'm not a spy, but I have read Taylor Stevens' books.

The Innocent is an excellent thriller, full of action, tension and mystery.

I give it a strong 4 Stars.
Profile Image for Maria.
717 reviews51 followers
August 2, 2019
Stiti acel sentiment cand iti place o carte atât de mult încât nu vrei sa se termine? E, asa am facut eu cu asta. Trag de ea de zile întregi si nu pt ca nu mi ar fi placut, ci pt ca mi a plăcut prea mult.
Vol 2 din seria Vanessa Monroe nu dezamageste. Strict subiectiv spun chiar ca este mai bun decât primul. Deja m am obisnuit cu stilul autoarei de a scrie, cu persoanjele ei atât de drăguț lucrate si scoase in evidenta prin situații care mai de care mai primejdioase.
La fel ca si in primul vol Monroe trebuie sa gaseasca o fata, dar daca atunci era vb despre bani si mostenire, aici este totul legat de iubire. Toată mafia din spatele acelor Aleși mi a facut sila si pot sa jur ca undeva, în lume aceste lucruri chiar se intampla. Ceea ce mă face si mai indignată.
Oricum, nu stiu altii ce păreri au, nu stiu cum au perceput seria si cartea de față, însă mie mi a plăcut. După Helen Grace cred ca e printre preferate. 5*
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 118 books157k followers
April 3, 2014
The second book in the Vanessa Michael Munroe is as absorbing as the first but oh my word, the suspension of disbelief this novel demands is a lot to handle. Cults, tragic best friends, secret children, international intrigue, old allies, PTSD.... this book has it all. Michael takes A LOT of showers in this book. Like, it becomes funny how many showers she takes. Glad to see Bradford finally in the mix. Michael's angst about her love of killing is also overdone. Like, we get it, she's good with a knife but has a conscience.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 568 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.